Look at the sky this weekend, there's a super snow moon on the rise

07 February 2020 - 18:26 By nomvelo masango
The first supermoon of 2020 is happening this weekend.
The first supermoon of 2020 is happening this weekend.
Image: 123RF/mycola

February's snow moon is usually a sight not to be missed, but this weekend it's no ordinary snow moon, it's a supermoon too, says astronomer Daniel Cunnama of the South African Astronomical Observatory.

The snow moon is one of the 12 full moons people routinely get to admire each year. It was named by the Native Americans for the heavy snowfall experienced during February in the northern hemisphere. As this freezing weather also made it difficult for them to gather food, it's sometimes called the hunger moon.

What sets this year's snow moon apart is that it's also the first supermoon of 2020.

Supermoon is a term used to describe what happens when a full (or new) moon occurs, when the moon is at the point in its monthly orbit when it's closest to the Earth.

During this phenomenon, which can happen several times a year, the moon can appear larger and brighter than usual.

Cunnama says that although the super snow moon will be at its fullest at 9.33am on Sunday, it should appear full the whole weekend. So, cloud cover permitting, take a moment to look up at the night sky and appreciate its beauty.